NHS teamwork helps flooded GP practice reopen in just 24 hours

Quick teamwork across many different parts of the NHS system in Derbyshire helped a GP practice recover from a devastating flood within just 24 hours.

Hannage Brook GP practice in Wirksworth was flooded early on Monday morning, putting several consulting rooms out of action, bringing down the ceiling in the waiting area and other rooms, and causing the electricity and IT equipment to stop working.

The practice quickly informed patients that it was closed and put in place alternative arrangements to see urgent appointments.

However, by Monday afternoon the practice was able to see some patients and by Tuesday morning the practice was operating nearly as normal.

Clive Newman, director of primary care for NHS Derby and Derbyshire, said:

“The NHS family rallied around the team at Hannage Brook so they could begin to see their patients once again as quickly as possible.

“The team of GPs, healthcare professionals, administration and reception staff at Hannage Brook threw themselves into the recovery operation and did a brilliant job.

“It has been a fantastic team effort that shows the best of the dedication everyone in the NHS has to ensure staff can support their patients and communities with their healthcare.”

The flood appeared to have been caused by a leak from a water tank, which caused flooding on both the first floor and ground floor.

It was discovered by GP partner Dr Phil Packer and he then led the team response and recovery.

Actions to get Hannage Brook up and running again included:

  • Patients who requested urgent appointment were diverted to NHS 111 – which is operated by DHU Healthcare – or directed to attend the urgent treatment centres at Ripley Hospital or Whitworth Hospital, Darley Dale – which are operated by Derbyshire Community Health Services Foundation Trust
  • Colleagues from the South Dales Primary Care Network stepped in to ensure patients who were due a home visit received their visit as expected.
  • The Primary Care Network manager and colleagues from Ashbourne Medical Centre also offered prompt practical support of food and drink, laptops, clinicians to see patients and consulting rooms.
  • By the afternoon the practice’s pharmacists were able to extend the clinical work that they’d started on that morning, working remotely.
  • The estates team working for Derbyshire Community Health Services Foundation Trust were on site quickly to fix the water system, isolate the affected electrics and get the electricity supply partially working again.
  • Retained firefighters from Derbyshire Fire and Rescue service cleaned up the water and helped to clean up some of the affected rooms and corridors so they could be used again.
  • The practice’s IT provider – North East Commissioning Support Unit – fixed the practice’s IT systems and ensured they were operating again properly and safely.

The practice is now providing a normal service, although there remains significant restoration work required to the building over the coming months.

Dr Penny Blackwell and Dr Phil Packer, GP partners at Hannage Brook, said:

“Our hearts sank when we saw what had happened to our practice and stepped into a foot of water downstairs.

“We couldn’t possibly have opened. However, within a short time we were able to put in place actions that ensured we could keep our patients and staff safe and to get ourselves up and running again.

“We are very grateful for the support and understanding of our patients and community who were supportive, offering practical support such as help in cleaning up and places to consult, as well as giving us space when we were under significant duress, to get our service back on its feet.

“It is a strength of our relationship with our community that we can be open, honest and transparent which helped at this time.

“We couldn’t have got going again so quickly without the help of our colleagues in many different parts of our NHS system and local community. It truly shows the best of our NHS working for our patients and communities.”